The USDA proudly boasts on its website that nearly 385,000 people have registered their premises to participate in the National Animal Identification System. They do not say how many of these people were registered without their knowledge, as was done in Idaho. They do not say how much money they distributed to various entities in exchange for soliciting registrations. They do not say that many of the registrations were coerced by requiring registration before participating in 4-H events, county fairs and other shows.
They do not provide any information about how a person can withdraw from this “voluntary” program.
Until a couple of months ago, a person could not withdraw his registration from the database. Then, Carol and Calvin Whittaker discovered that their premises had been registered in the NAIS database when they renewed their brand registration. For months, they were told by the state department of agriculture and by the USDA that once registered, their premises could not be removed.
Within days after the Whittaker’s plight was publicized, the USDA decided that since the program was now “voluntary,” they would develop a procedure to allow a person to remove their premises from the NAIS database.
A person who is registered in the NAIS database, or who thinks they may be registered, must write a letter (which should be sent by certified mail) to the state NAIS coordinator and formally request that their premises registration be removed from the NAIS database. The state coordinator must then advance the request to the USDA.
The Whittakers followed this procedure precisely – and waited for more than two months. Nothing. How could they know whether their registration had been removed or not?
The USDA has now formalized a protocol for this process, and the states are just now learning about it. When a name has been removed from the NAIS database as the result of an individual’s request, the state coordinator is so notified by the USDA. It is the state coordinator’s responsibility to notify the individual that the registration has been removed.
Idaho’s state coordinator has not yet notified the Whittakers that their name has been removed. USDA says that the Whittaker’s name has been removed, but is not yet sure that the state has been notified. A spokesman for the Idaho state coordinator says that they are in the process of developing a media campaign to notify people who may have been registered without their knowledge about the procedure for having their names removed from the NAIS database.
Every person in every state who does not want to be in the NAIS database should contact their state coordinator to determine whether they have been registered, and if so, request immediate removal. This procedure could reduce the total number of registered premises significantly.
While USDA continues to claim that the program is “voluntary,” producers and other animal owners are not at all convinced that the program will remain voluntary. The USDA has already demonstrated its willingness to coerce “voluntary” participation by encouraging organizations to limit participation or services for people who are not registered in the NAIS database.
Moreover, there’s talk in Congress about attaching a mandatory NAIS to the Country Of Origin Label legislation that is scheduled to go into force later this year. USDA has always claimed the authority to make the “voluntary” program mandatory at any time they determine it to be necessary.
Should there be an instance of tainted meat products similar to the recent tainted pet food incident, it could easily serve as an excuse to convert the “voluntary” program to a mandatory program, with nothing more than the stroke of a pen.
People who are already registered would have no choice but to comply with whatever requirements the USDA may impose. People who are not registered could offer powerful resistance to arbitrary registration and arbitrary bureaucratic control.
People who are opposed to the NAIS have developed a variety of organizations such as the Liberty Ark Coalition and NoNais.org, and are working together to get legislation introduced into more than 12 states, as well as in the Congress, that would limit or prohibit participation in a NAIS.
The more people who learn about the government attempting to inventory and track the movements of every livestock animal in the country, the greater the possibility of stopping the program. Opponents are convinced that the program would do nothing to prevent a disease outbreak, whether natural or induced, nor could it actually improve the remedy process. It would just be another massive government bureaucracy to monitor every livestock owner and force them to pay the cost of Big Brother’s ever-seeing eye.